The owner of a shared house in Moulsecoomb has been given permission for a loft conversion so that more people can live there.
Ryan Scott, the owner of a house in multiple occupation (HMO) in Barcombe Road, converted the loft so that the house could sleep seven people instead of five.
This meant that it went from being a small HMO to a larger one and required planning permission, according to Brighton and Hove City Council.
Dr Scott, a psychology lecturer at Sussex University, made a retrospective planning application but it was turned down by Brighton and Hove City Council so he appealed.
Planning inspector David Reed allowed the appeal. He said: “The main issues are whether the development provides acceptable living conditions for its occupiers and the effect of the development on the mix and balance of the community in the area and the living conditions of nearby occupiers.”
He said that the council had objected to the amount of space in some of the rooms but they were adequate although some were tight.
He added: “The property is clearly aimed at the short-term student market rather than longer-term occupiers for whom higher standards might be necessary.
“The council has issued the premises with an HMO licence for seven persons.”
“The council argues that the development is contrary to (its policy) which seeks to support mixed and balanced communities across the city and to ensure that a range of housing needs continue to be met.
“To this end, applications for the change of use to an HMO will be resisted where more than 10 per cent of dwellings within 50 metres are already in HMO use.”
In this case, he said, there is no dispute that 6 out of 24 dwellings within 50m are in HMO use – some 26 per cent and well above the policy limit of 10 per cent.
He added: “Since the appeal property already has a lawful HMO use, these proportions would not change if the appeal is allowed.”
As such, he said, there was no conflict with the council’s policy, adding: “The development would not affect the range of housing types in the area, nor the number of HMOs, just increase the number of occupants within this particular HMO.
“Although the number of residents would increase from five to seven, this would only be a marginal increase within the neighbourhood as a whole and any effects arising from two extra people are unlikely to be significant.
“At the time of the site visit the property appeared well managed with the front and rear gardens well maintained.
“There was no obvious difference between the standard of maintenance of the property and others in the area, whether HMOs or not.
“For these reasons I conclude that the development would not significantly affect the mix or balance of the community in the area … nor cause significant harm to the living conditions of nearby occupiers.”
Similar appeals have been submitted by the owners of two other small HMOs. One is to turn a five-bed shared house in Middleton Rise, in Coldean, into a seven-bed HMO. The other is to enlarge a shared house in Caledonian Road, Brighton, from six bedrooms to seven.